anti-PC is not as bad as PC

Steve Witham (
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 04:06:23 -0500

>Because, for one, the words politically correct, at first, were not a jab, a
>joke or a poke at people who are trying to whine about their condition, or
>get their way, but meant some one who had first done their homework and tried
>to make an educated political decision. Which then became a kind of position,
>and instead of being thinking, became unthinking.
>Now, for certain individuals, calling someone PC has become a DODGE out of
>any tricky corner that someone finds themselves in, without having to explain
>or educate your listener as to why you have your theories. You can call them
>PC and that should cover it.

Hi. Do you have examples of "politically correct" meaning something
positive before it became a negative epithet? If you're right, it's
fascinating history, but still...

I think political correctness--the knee-jerk-liberalism kind--was (and
still is) such a bad phenomenon that it deserves drastic defensive
measures against it. Drastic sanitary measures. Any hint of the stuff
needs to be burnt away with intense fires, *just in case*, just to be
sure. The ironic thing is that just *naming* the phenomenon was enough
to alert most people to the problem, and provided an instant weapon
against it, which was: just saying the phrase, just reminding people of
the problem. The problem is so bad that just mentioning it is considered
an emphatic statement.

There's a cost to the manic counter-trend, but I think it's more than
justified. The cost is making *extra* sure not to appear politically
correct, even being willing to backtrack vigourously if one gets caught
sounding PC. Doing that demonstrates you understand the horrorible
potential of PC. If you don't understand that horror, you might not see
the necessity, the justification, for the extreme counter-measures.

The amazing thing is that PC had gone on so long without an effective
defense. It represents a serious vulnerability in our ways of
thinking...or feeling or something. Naming it has only been a start.

The saving grace of the counter trend is that the phrase "politically
correct" is ironic even if used in the most bludgeonly fashion. It
will never match the debate-stifling effect that actual political
correctness had for so long. And calling someone politically correct
tells them how not to sound without dictating how they should sound--
The Sound with the High Ground--as PCism still does. PC is a plague
that's going to take a while to cure and I think it's fair that people
expect each other to do some careful stepping around it. We don't
exactly understand what it is but there's something BAD there so (we
imply) steer clear.


--           Steve Witham  
"...the Vild, where the manifold was as dangerous and deranged as a
 Scutari shahzadix in heat." --David Zindell